Pub owner discovers 50-year-old time capsule in building's walls

Time at the bar! Pub owner discovers 50-year-old time capsule containing a price list, ha-penny coins and a £1-an-hour wage slip buried in the 200-year-old building’s walls

  • Pub owner Toby Brett, 41, found a small haul of items dating back to July 1973
  • Items were placed in the walls of Holcombe Farmshop and Kitchen in Radstock
  • Package contained a collection of ha-pennies, old beer mats and car tax discs 

A pub owner has discovered a 50-year-old time capsule containing a price list, ha-penny coins and a £1-an-hour wage slip buried in the 200-year-old building’s walls.

Toby Brett, the current owner of Holcombe Farmshop and Kitchen in Radstock, Somerset, said finding the small haul of items from 1973 was a ‘pleasant surprise’. 

The package contained a collection of ha’pennies, old beer mats and car tax discs.

A scrawled note, dated July 13, 1973, and signed by an E.Pockson – who included some of his ID cards in the collection – reads: ‘To the present owner from a past owner, good luck.’

A longer letter explains Mr Pockson carried out ‘major alterations’ to the pub in July 1973, with the help of now defunct property developers, Oakhill Brewery Development.

Mr Brett, 41, who has owned the pub for the past 11 years, said: ‘It was certainly a surprise to find it. It was a really pleasant find, there’s some really interesting stuff in there.

Toby Brett, the current owner of Holcombe Farmshop and Kitchen in Radstock, Somerset, said finding the small haul of items from 1973 (pictured) was a ‘pleasant surprise’

Mr Brett (pictured), 41, who has owned the pub for the past 11 years, said: ‘It was certainly a surprise to find it. It was a really pleasant find, there’s some really interesting stuff in there’


A scrawled note (left), dated July 13, 1973, and signed by an E.Pockson – who included some of his ID cards in the collection – reads: ‘To the present owner from a past owner, good luck.’ Right, the previous landlord had written a note saying, ‘Sorry it’s only ha’pennies’

‘It was quite funny to see the price list from 1971 for Wadworth Brewery, which is a brewery we still use today. It’s definitely changed a bit since then.

‘There’s a couple of pounds worth of ha’pennies in there too – and the previous landlord had written a note saying, “Sorry it’s only ha’pennies”.

‘I like that he had clearly given some thought as to it being found in the future, and who might find it. It’s nice that someone had the foresight to do that.’

Mr Brett has now displayed the historic collection on a mounted board in the pub and farmshop, for customers to see when they visit.

Some of the ha’penny coins have been embedded in see-through resin and placed within the floor as part of the re-design.

Some of the ha’penny coins have been embedded in see-through resin and placed within the floor as part of the re-design

Pictured, a photograph showing what the pub looked like during the 1970s

A bag containing a couple of pounds’ worth of ha-pennies was included within the capsule

Mr Brett recently renovated the building, which dates back to the 1800s, so that it is not just a village pub, but also incorporates a farm shop and deli.

He said: ‘I felt there was demand for us to sell other things rather than just alcohol and pub food.

‘It was important to me to keep the village pub as the hub of the community – but I also wanted to offer something to other locals, too.

‘So now we’ve changed the whole look and feel of the place, and as well as the pub we have an open cafe space, with offerings from local butchers and other local produce.’ 

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